[W]hether [Kulbhushan] Jadhav is a spy is moot. What is beyond dispute is that the Pakistan Army’s declaration of a death sentence for him via a clandestine court-martial breaks with all standard practice; it is almost an open invitation to escalation from India.
Shockingly, the announcement of Jadhav’s death sentence this past week was made by the Pakistan Army and not the government’s foreign office. The sentencing seemed to take the Nawaz Sharif-led civilian government entirely by surprise, even as Indians were convulsed with rage. Pakistan’s foreign minister Sartaj Aziz said last year that there was no “conclusive evidence” against Jadhav. So the sudden announcement appears to be as much about Nawaz vs. the Pakistani Army as it is about India vs. Pakistan. With Pakistan’s military stripping away the veneer of authority from its civilian prime minister, the aim could be to further weaken him and ensure that he is unable to steer the wheel in the direction of a dialogue with India.